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A favourite among children and adults alike, The Simpsons is the longest-running prime-time animated series in television history and the yardstick against which all other animated series are measured. Its blend of political satire, timely social references and sight gags evokes laughter from both young and old. Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie and the host of colourful characters that inhabit the town of Springfi eld have kept audiences in stitches since they first sprang to life as a series of 30-second spots on the Tracy Ullman Show. They have carried that momentum through 18 seasons as a regular series and show no signs of letting up.